So it has come to this:
                                      hung by my heels for love
                                                          hundreds of feet over the city,
the tips of live oaks brushing the sky
                   with their new light-green feathers,
                                                           traffic glittering evilly far below.
My whole life suspended
                   against a thin safety bar,
                                       Patty, the child who said she
wanted this, beside me screaming — in delight or terror?
                                                            The man pushes the button again
and the white arm of the machine,
                   evolution painted innocently on its side in baby blue curlicues,
                                        tilts, swoops — circles — whirls us — up — overhead again —
                                                                                                hurls us at the sun.
Eyes squeezed shut, bodies robbed
                     of gravity, o heavy gift, o familiar mortal pleasure —
                                         Patty beside me can’t scream
                                                              anymore. We cling to our separate
flimsy cages.
                    If she somehow slips
                                        through the bar — I won’t catch her. Can’t. Lobbed,
                                                                              caught and flung, again and again
we rotate powerlessly like blind meteors
                                                               who swoop too low to earth and then
                                                                                                                                              veer away
                                         just before crashing. I can’t get used to the danger,
                                                                                                      how our fragile ordinary lives
                                                                                                                                              slide, slam, hang
                                         in the balance.        The man on the ground
                                         is stony-faced as the angel of death. No amount of pleading
will get us off. What could we have done
                                         to deserve this? And why,
                                                              when we finally descend,
                    jelly-legged and grateful
                                         for our drab lives,
                                                              do we turn back at once for another round?